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Write That Story 1

Course Times & Enrolment

Tuesdays from 26th September 2023 (Code CW026-118) Tuesdays from
26th September 2023 6:30pm - 8:20pm • (10 classes)
LG49 Paterson's Land, Holyrood Campus • Tutor: Colin Mortimer BA
This course is now closed for enrolments

Course Summary

Always wanted to write short stories but can’t get started? Even if you are a complete beginner this course will stimulate you to write, using simple exercises and discussions to reveal techniques of storytelling from construction to creating characters.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No previous knowledge required.

Content of Course

The course is for complete beginners and takes you through a notional process for creating a story i.e. it covers the areas you need to think about in roughly the order that you will need to think about them.   It concentrates on complete stories, but recognises that some people will take some time to get there: each person will progress at their own speed.   The primary aim is to make the group feel relaxed and friendly so that people feel comfortable about sharing and discussing their work. Over the ten weeks:

1. Ideas and how to have them.

2. First thoughts on shaping your material.

3. The classic narrative shape and how it works.

4. Development of the plot.

5. Starting to think about character 1.

6. Point-of-views.

7. The structure plan and different ways of realising your story.

8. The difference between telling and showing.

9. Thinking about the totality of the scene: what descriptions are for.

10. Thinking about the totality of the scene: writing a film script.

Teaching method(s)

Class work will consist of exercises, discussion, and reading of work. No-one will be expected to be an actor and read their own stories aloud. Every week an assignment will be set: at first consisting of exercises, plans and outlines; later moving on to short stories. Each course member will be treated individually, as far as possible. All work will be commented on by the tutor in writing.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be able to:

  • Write a short story with greater capability (in the individual style of each student).

  • Apply the basis rules or guidelines of story

  • Use a vocabulary and analysis by which to judge their own and other people's work.

  • Demonstrate a greater understanding of the short story form.


Core Readings


  • McEwan, I.,1997. In Between the Sheets. Picador.

  • Carter,A., 1995.The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories. Vintage Classics.

  • Carver, R., 1995. Where I'm Calling from Selected Stories. The Harvill Press.

  • Trevor, W., 2003.The Collected Stories. Penguin.

  • Joyce,J   2007. Dubliners. Penguin

  • Du Maurier, D  2009.  The Breaking Point: Short Stories  Virago

  • Kipling R, 1993. Just So Stories   Wordsworth Editions;

  • Keillor, G  2005. Lake Wobegon Days   Faber & Faber

  • King, S  2012. On Writing  Hodder Paperbacks

  • Boylan, C., ed., 1993. The Agony and the Ego. Penguin.

Web Sources 

Class Handouts

Where appropriate, handouts will be provided by the tutor during the course.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.